The Federal and Queensland Governments have signed an agreement for the Queensland section of Inland Rail to move forward, including additional funding to develop a business case for a freight rail from Acacia Ridge to the Port of Brisbane.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the Bilateral Agreement would ensure Queensland’s future growth is supported by a robust freight rail network capable of servicing the long-term liveability and productivity of Queensland’s regions, towns and cities.
“The Bilateral Agreement is backed by the Federal Government’s $9.3 billion commitment to deliver Inland Rail and is part of the broader $25 billion commitment we’ve made to road and rail projects across Queensland since coming to Government in 2013,” Mr McCormack said.
“Our government values the significance of this nation-building project for regional communities. More than 7,000 jobs and a $7 billion boost to Queensland’s economy will make a real difference to the people who live and work in this state.
“We are transforming the way freight is moved in Australia. For every dollar we are investing in Inland Rail, $2.62 will be returned to the national economy.”
Mr McCormack said that modelling by the CSIRO shows an average saving of $76 per tonne for horticulture and post-processed food when shifted onto the double-stacked trains.
“We’re already seeing the benefits in New South Wales with the first section of the new track between Parkes and Narromine now complete,” he said.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed the agreement.
“Australia’s national freight task is set to increase significantly in coming years, with volumes in Queensland estimated to grow 20 per cent in the next 10 years alone. This means we must find new ways to keep freight moving, efficiently and safely,” ALC CEO, Kirk Coningham, said.
“Inland Rail will help achieve this by providing for a transit time of 24 hours or less for freight trains between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. This will boost Australia’s international competitiveness by allowing our exporters to compete more effectively on the global stage.
“Inland Rail is a significant initiative for Queensland’s economy, with an estimated economic impact on Gross State Product of $7.3 billion and an estimated 7,200 jobs in the state during the peak of the project’s construction phase.
“It is critical that industry, governments and local communities now work together to ensure the full benefits of the Inland Rail project are delivered, particularly for regional communities now enduring the effects of the current drought.”